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  • Credit Union Adds Three Fresh Perspectives in One New Board Member

    Posted by on August 2, 2016

    Achieving a variety of inclusivity and diversity objectives is becoming more important for credit union boards of directors. One such board is that of Community 1st Credit Union in Ottumwa, Iowa. The Juntos Avanzamos-designated credit union recently welcomed Edith Cabrera-Tello to its board.
    Edith brings a unique perspective to the credit union’s leadership as the youngest director, as well as the only female and the only Latina on the board. We had the chance to sit down with Edith to chat about her appointment, as well as her insight on the important role credit unions play in the formation of good financial habits for today’s consumers.

    Eidth Linked InHow long have you been a member and board member of Community 1st?

    I’ve been a member of the credit union since 2011 and a board member since January 2016.

    What is your view of credit unions as a financial option for the Hispanic community?

    When my husband and I wanted to start our own business, we asked our bank for help. They denied our application for a loan. We then went to a credit union and received the support we were looking for. That’s when I learned more about credit unions and the services they offered.
    I also worked for a school as the Hispanic community outreach coordinator at the time. We would offer workshops and occasionally had someone from a credit union come talk about personal finances. That was a great opportunity for those in our community who are immigrants learn how credit unions could help us. They open doors for individuals simply by accepting an ITIN number (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). The credit union we worked with also provided financial support to make the workshops happen. That’s something no bank had offered to do.

    What changes have you seen in how Community 1st serves its members and specifically its Hispanic members since you’ve been a board member?

    I have noticed how many more services the credit union is working to make more inclusive for our community. ITIN lending has been quite beneficial, but they are not stopping there. They are continuing to look for ways to improve. The leadership has hired the right people to assist the community, too, which is incredibly important.

    How has the work with Coopera and receiving the Juntos Avanzamos designation impacted outreach to the Hispanic community?

    The designation is not only helping the Hispanic community; it’s helping everyone in our area. A lot of that has to do with awareness and exposure to new things. Take for example, board members working to properly pronounce Juntos Avanzamos. You can see their desire to do so correctly. They have seen the importance of the designation and all the efforts that come with it. They understand that the better we serve our community, the greater return there will be on the investment.

    Could you describe your experience as a board member of a credit union from the moment you decided to volunteer until now?

    It’s been pretty good. I am the only woman, the youngest and the only Latina on the board. I feel comfortable, and the other board members help me when I need it. They have so many years combined experience, I am learning from them while hopefully they are learning from me. It’s been incredible to see how they take the time to help the credit union grow.

    What advice do you have for any potential Hispanic board members thinking about or having been approached to serve on the board of a credit union?

    We need diversity on credit union boards. Being involved on the board not only allows directors to have a say on decision making specific to the credit union; it also allows that individual to support the larger community.

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    Video: Targeting the Hispanic Consumer for Growth

    Posted by on May 8, 2012

    I recently appeared on an episode of the CU Broadcast to discuss the Hispanic market opportunity for credit unions. The host, Mike Lawson, and I talked through quite a few topics, most notably how credit unions can earn the trust of young, unbanked Hispanics.

    The video is also archived at CUBroadcast.com, along with many other insightful episodes of the show. If you get a free minutes, visit the site and watch a few…

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    Building the Foundation First

    Posted by on May 1, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Michael Adams, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Greater Iowa Credit Union

    In working with Coopera, we have found it important to get the structural components in place before launching any significant outreach to the Hispanic community. This includes things like laying a solid foundation complete with Hispanic-friendly membership policies, as well as securing employee, leadership and board support. Only after this can you begin to do the fun stuff, like product development or marketing.

    Not everyone on a credit union’s leadership team or board of directors may be fully supportive of an Hispanic outreach program, and some products, such as ITIN loans, for example, may be downright scary to them. A vocal board member who is not on board can create barriers to any proposal. We discovered early on that some credit union administrators and board members can have a knee-jerk reaction to the creation of an aggressive Hispanic initiative.

    More often than not, education regarding the needs of this community is necessary. Once you do get a good customer identification program in place and board support, you can begin the rewarding work of reaching out to the Hispanic community with products and services that are useful to them, such as remittance services, free checking, reloadable debit cards, ITIN and other culturally relevant loans.

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    Worth Fighting For

    Posted by on April 17, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Oscar Porras, Community Liaison at Maps Credit Union

    Outreach to the Hispanic community in the U.S. will be an essential part of any credit union’s future success.

    The 2010 U.S. Census showed that the Hispanic population increased 43 percent since 2000. In our neck of the words (Oregon), we’ve seen a whopping 63.5 percent increase over the same period of time. An essential part of reaching out to our Hispanic neighbors is presenting products and services in a way that is culturally relevant.

    At Maps Credit Union, in cooperation with Coopera, we are working to add some of the services that are most important to the Hispanic community, such as credit builder loans, remittance services and prepaid reloadable cards. We have set up inter-departmental teams to discuss these products, and we look forward to rolling out our first new product in the first quarter of 2012.

    It has not been easy. There have been some challenges, including negative attitudes from a small number of staff. Then again, anything worth fighting for always brings challenges. We are working to address our internal and external issues through open and honest communication. Racism, stereotypes, and the like all come from misinformation. Educating staff about their new neighbors will help foster a credit union culture of acceptance and understanding.

    I look forward to my new role as Community Liaison at Maps Credit Union and adding another wonderful piece to our credit union culture. I would love to hear about your challenges and victories as your institutions move toward a greater focus on welcoming the members of your local Hispanic communities.

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    It’s Never Too Early To Start

    Posted by on April 10, 2012

    There’s no better time than the present to begin preparing for 2012’s month-long celebration of the Hispanic heritage and culture, Hispanic Heritage Month.

    Credit unions across the country found ways to engage with their local Hispanic community’s during last year’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Our VP Miriam De Dios recently shared a few of those efforts with Credit Union Magazine’s online readers. Below is an excerpt from that article. For more, visit creditunionmagazine.com.

    All over the country, credit unions are discovering opportunities to participate in community celebrations. Maps Credit Union in Salem, Ore., is partnering with Western Oregon University to launch the Latino Education and Access Program, which helps Hispanic students further their education with scholarships.

    Fundraising for the program will be kicked off by former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

    Maps Credit Union will also be a silver sponsor of the Hispanic Heritage Month Breakfast, Oregon’s official kick-off celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

    Des Moines Metro Credit Union also plans to participate in its community’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. The ninth annual Iowa Latino Heritage Festival will take place in Des Moines in September.

    The credit union will not only have a booth at the festival to meet with current and potential members, it will also sponsor an elote (corn) eating contest.

    How can your credit union participate in 2012’s Hispanic Heritage Month? It can be as simple as:

    • Informing your members and the community about Hispanic Heritage Month events;
    • Partnering with a local organization to support a Hispanic Heritage Month activity; or
    • Educating the Hispanic community about your credit union’s unique products and services.

    To read the full article, visit creditunionmagazine.com.

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    Reloadable Cards Offer ‘Foot in the Door’ to Hispanic Market

    Posted by on April 3, 2012

    The following is an excerpt of a newly released white paper by Coopera’s Miriam De Dios covering the potential for reloadable prepaid cards in the Hispanic market. If you’d like a copy of the full paper, send me an email, and I’d be happy to send it over.

    While our consulting capacity has allowed us to observe almost all best-practice tactics out there, we believe FIs that offer a reloadable prepaid card to the Hispanic market will be among those achieving the greatest success. Perfectly tailored to the Hispanic consumer, this type of offering has the potential to ease consumer financial pain, to build trust between cardholders and an issuing FI, and to generate fee revenue and loyalty from a powerful market.

    For FIs interested in the Hispanic market, it makes sense to think in terms of products and services that would appeal to consumers who don’t have a traditional banking relationship already in place. Creating affordable alternatives to meet the needs of underserved Americans not only has the potential to get a foot in the door of the Hispanic community; it also helps your FI lead its customers down a path to financial responsibility.

    Because they don’t allow for overspending, reloadable cards help underserved consumers manage their budget-conscious lifestyle. This puts issuing FIs in a position to nurture the financial growth of prospective members, quite possibly turning underserved consumers into some of their most loyal customers.

    Before embarking on any Hispanic outreach, however, FIs must understand the importance of building trust slowly. While product offerings – such as reloadable prepaid cards – are a great start, adding a healthy Hispanic membership base truly is a longer-term effort requiring the support of FI staff and leadership.

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    Everything’s Big in Texas (Especially the Hispanic Market)

    Posted by on March 27, 2012

    Hispanics continue to be an important group for many of America’s states. Thanks to the newly published 2011 Hispanic Opportunity Report, commissioned by the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL), we understand even more about this population in the state of Texas.

    A long-time partner of the TCUL and supporter of the Juntos Avanzamos designation, Coopera was commissioned to write the report to help Texas credit unions better understand data revealed by the 2010 Census.

    Here are a few of the report’s highlights:

    Two-thirds of the state’s growth over the past decade came from Hispanics.

    Hispanic Texans are five times more likely to be unbanked than are the state’s whites.

    Hispanics will comprise 53% of the state’s population by 2040, and whites will make up just 32%.

    If credit unions attain 10% penetration of the state’s Hispanic adults, it would mean an estimated $326 million in total income and $3.5 billion in loans.

    Of the nearly 1 million children added to the Texas population in the last decade, 95% of them were Hispanic.

    In Texas, one in five dollars of purchasing power is in Hispanic hands.

    We are pleased that TCUL has been so proactive in providing this report to its members. Texas is the first state to request specific information about credit unions’ Hispanic opportunity since the 2010 Census was finalized. Coopera believes the information in the report will motivate Texas credit unions to pursue this market more intentionally.

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    Are Hispanics Really ‘Emerging?’

    Posted by on March 20, 2012

    The 2010 U.S. Census revealed that one in six U.S. residents is Hispanic, and among children, it’s one in four. By 2050, analysts predict that statistic will soar to one in three.

    When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why the term “emerging,” which has been used to describe the U.S. Hispanic community, isn’t really all that fitting today. For that reason, it’s no longer appropriate to think of the Hispanic consumer as someone your credit union may need to court in the future. Rather, you need to understand how to market to this type of consumer today.

    In cooperation with CUNA, Coopera regularly surveys credit unions of varying sizes. This research has shown that a much higher concentration of credit unions have focused on serving the Hispanic market in recent years. Between 2008 and 2009, we found that the number of credit unions either executing or planning Hispanic-market programs more than tripled.

    Undoubtedly you have witnessed the growth of the Hispanic market in either yours or a neighboring community. While getting ahead of the curve may no longer be possible, there is still a tremendous opportunity to tap into the power of this population now. We advise you not to wait another year.

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    Greater Iowa Names Scholarship Program for Warren Morrow

    Posted by on March 13, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Michael Adams, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Greater Iowa Credit Union

    Like everyone else who either worked with or knew Warren Morrow personally, we at Greater Iowa Credit Union were shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. The credit union industry and the Latino community lost an incredible leader, humanitarian and friend.

    As early clients of Coopera, and we worked closely with Warren and Miriam De Dios to structure and fund a Latino initiative that included policy changes, new membership procedures, educational programming, raising cultural awareness of the staff and launching products and services specifically designed to appeal to first- and second-generation Latino families and individuals. As part of that program, Greater Iowa identified funding that would be given each year to a deserving Latino high school student who was interested in going to college.

    With a vote of support from the credit union’s Corporate Giving Committee and endorsement from the board of directors, this program has been increased to three $500 scholarships that will be known in the future as the Warren Morrow Latino Educational Scholarship.

    Each year, we at Greater Iowa work with the Latino Liaison staff with the Des Moines Public Schools and the superintendent of the Crawford County Schools in Denison to identify students worthy of the honor. The winning students are invited to join us at the annual Latino Heritage Festival in Des Moines to receive a check. It’s one of the most rewarding things we do each year.

    By naming this scholarship after Warren, we wanted to honor his vision and legacy. In our modest way, we will be able to share Warren’s story with future generations of students whose stories, in many ways, will resemble his—of young people who came to this country as children with a hunger for education and a compelling need to do good work.

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    Getting Started

    Posted by on March 6, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Alejandro Alaniz, Account Relationship Specialist at Des Moines Metro Credit Union

    I was hired at Des Moines Metro Credit Union (DMMCU) in February 2008 to lead DMMCU’s Latino outreach efforts for the credit union. I was very excited for the opportunity and to get going on the effort. The only problem was that I was a little scared and lost because I was the one who would be starting the main initiative for the push!

    I am the first person here at DMMCU to be hired for this position, and there had been no previous precedent to look to. It was just me and Traci Stiles, DMMCU’s marketing director, to go out and show the local Latino community what a credit union is and why DMMCU is different from other financial institutions. The task seem large, but yet a fun one at that!

    Before I joined DMMCU, they had done a great job of having Coopera’s Warren Morrow come in and talk to our board of directors about why it would be a huge benefit for DMMCU to start marketing to the local Latino community.

    With his help and DMMCU’s management team, the board decided that it was indeed a good idea and jumped aboard. With the go ahead, Traci started a small and targeted marketing effort with Spanish materials to be handed out and also delivered to our SEGs.

    Another important step DMMCU took was having a strategic planning session that included Coopera, the board of directors and our the management team . The planning session came up with a timeline and action plans to be accomplished by specified time frames in order to better gauge accomplishments. One important task was to hire a full-time bilingual employee to be the head of the effort.

    That’s where I came in. I was excited by the fact that “I” would be the one starting a new outreach effort for DMMCU! My biggest hurdle to overcome was “Where do I begin?”

    I had so many thoughts going trough my head, thinking of what options we had available.  Do we send a mailing? Have an open house? Do T.V. commercials? Radio ads? Do we hire a banner plane? Ok maybe not the banner plane, but I didn’t know where to start.

    Luckily Traci had some smart and simple ideas to get started. Stay tuned to this blog, as I’ll get into those smart, simple ideas next time!

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